As the calendar turns to spring, a wave of excitement called March Madness sweeps across the United States, capturing the hearts of millions of fans with the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments. This period is a sports phenomenon and a significant marketing opportunity for brands. From food and beverage to apparel, the possibilities for creative and impactful marketing strategies are endless. In this blog, we delve into how your brand can leverage March Madness to engage with a diverse and passionate audience.


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Food and Beverage Brands: Tapping into the Social Experience of March Madness

March Madness is synonymous with social gatherings, making it the perfect playground for food and beverage brands. Groups of friends, family, and college students gather around screens in living rooms, dorms, and bars, all sharing in the excitement of the game. This environment presents a lucrative opportunity for your brand to be the center of these moments.

Imagine leveraging student-athletes to promote your products. A post-game Instagram story of a popular athlete enjoying your snack or a tweet about quenching their thirst with your beverage can resonate deeply with their followers. This sort of authentic product placement weaves your brand into the fabric of March Madness, capitalizing on the communal spirit of the event.

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Apparel Brands: Dressing the Stars of March Madness

The spotlight of March Madness shines brightly on the players, making it an ideal stage for apparel brands. The tournament is not just about who wins or loses; it's also about who stands out. Apparel brands have the chance to be part of these memorable moments by outfitting the athletes.

Consider the impact of a star player wearing your brand's custom-designed shoes during a buzzer-beater shot or a headband that becomes synonymous with a key player's look. Beyond the court, apparel brands can create special March Madness-themed collections. Promoting these lines through student-athletes on social media can create a buzz that goes beyond the tournament, weaving your brand into the larger narrative of college basketball.


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March Madness Ticket Giveaways: Amplifying Engagement

An innovative way to capture attention is through ticket giveaways for the final matches of the tournament. Collaborating with a well-known college athlete to announce this giveaway can exponentially increase your brand's visibility. This strategy not only drives excitement about the tournament but also engages a broader audience with your brand.

Envision a scenario where a popular athlete encourages their followers to interact with your brand, maybe by tagging friends, sharing a post, or using a branded hashtag. This engagement turns passive viewers into active participants, creating a dynamic interaction with your brand.


Connecting with College Athletes on OpenSponsorship

To facilitate these marketing strategies, OpenSponsorship offers an accessible platform to connect with various college athletes. We invite you to explore our collection of college athletes [link to the collection on OpenSponsorship], each with its unique appeal and fanbase. These partnerships can be the key to unlocking a successful March Madness campaign, offering an authentic way to engage with the tournament's enthusiastic audience.

Don't limit yourself to just, "How can I work with college basketball players?" - every college in America will have their eyes on the court. Other athletes at those schools will be affiliated with their classmates and are also great partners for running a campaign during the March Madness tournament.

If you are interested in working with NCAA basketball players, we'd made some collections.

Collection of Men's NCAA basketball athletes
Collection of Women's NCAA basketball athletes

Every Brand can get in on the March Madness Hype

March Madness is more than a basketball tournament; it's a cultural event that offers a unique opportunity for brands to engage with a captive and diverse audience. By tapping into the excitement of the tournament and leveraging strategic partnerships with student-athletes, your brand can score big. Whether through targeted promotions, bespoke apparel collaborations, or interactive social media campaigns, the potential for impactful marketing during March Madness is immense. Jump into the game and make your marketing strategy a slam dunk with OpenSponsorship.

Want to learn more about working with college athletes?
Click here to create an OpenSponsorship brand account today!


Jeff is OpenSponsorship's Director of Marketing. He typically writes about sports sponsorship, marketing, and tips & tricks for brands.